So What is Social Media?

According to Wikipedia, social media is “an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos, and audio.”

If you ask few people my guess would be that they will have their own ways of describing it.

However, my views on what Social Media is….


Social Media is a conversation that takes place online


So what does that mean?
Social media is best understood as a group of online media, which share most or all of the following characteristics:

  • Participation
  • Openness
  • Conversation
  • Community
  • Connectedness

What are the basic forms of online social media?

  • Social networks
    MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, LinkedIn, Ning
  • Blogs
    These are online journals: personal or corporate
  • Wikis
    “Open” encyclopaedia where users can add/edit content – Wikipedia
  • Microblogging
    Miniature blogs giving small updates – Twitter
  • Forums
    Area for online discussion
    Came about before the take off of social media
  • Content communities
    Sites that share particular types of content – Flickr,, YouTube
  • Podcasts
    Audio & video files available by subscription (e.g. iTunes, RSS) to download or stream online

Planning on running a social media campaign, here are some points to think about

  • Who are your target audience and where are they?
    Go to them as well as bring them to you
  • What are your objectives and strategy
    Tie in what you are trying to achieve with your strategy
  • Before you start talking: Listen
    Find out what people are saying, talk with them not at them
  • Think about longevity
    Short term social media does not work
  • Social media is not a one to many medium
    It takes time to build reputation
  • Engage with regular networkers
    They will help you in the long term
  • Respond to messages/questions
    Don’t ignore people, its rude
  • Measure interactions to justify your existence
  • Be there
    If you are not, people will get bored and leave
  • Make your life easier
    Use online tools:, Twitterfeed, Social Oomph, Ping
    Use desktop tools: Tweetdeck, Seesmic
    Use mobile tools: Facebook/Twitter apps
  • Be found
    Actively cross-promote: Send people to your community pages – Twitter <–> Facebook <–> YouTube etc
    Tweeting? –> Send an RSS feed to your Facebook pages/groups
    YouTube-ing? –> Have them embedded in your Facebook pages